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Ervin Santana Loses Final Start Of 2010; Angels Close In On Protected Pick

Final Score in Middle America: Rangers 6, Angels 2

Flailing to create some drama for a sleepy game, Mark Gubicza repeatedly stressed the importance of winning the final two games of the season so that the Angels can finish 81-81. Why? Because an 81-81 record is "not a losing season." That statement is about as interesting as the observation that my green car is "not a blue car." In the last analysis, my not-blue car is still just a Ford Focus, and the Angels' not-losing season would still end on October 3. Let me just ask you this, Mark. If you had to choose right now between (1) the satisfaction that the Angels finished 81-81 in 2003 even though they missed the postseason or (2) Jered Weaver, which would you choose? You can only choose one, because the Angels signed two Type A free agent after 2003 (Vladimir Guerrero and Bartolo Colon), which would have cost them their first-round pick in 2004 (Weaver) if their poor record in 2003 had not entitled them to protection.

With the Tigers losing their last six in a row, the Angels might not have the same luxury this offseason. However, the offense was not fooled. The Angels did all of their scoring before a single out was made in the game -- eventually loading the bases with none out -- and then failed to score again with the remaining 27 outs. It was like the lineup got out of bed long enough to hit the snooze button on the alarm clock. Their only other serious threat came in the ninth, when they put the first two men on base, but three pitches to Erick Aybar and Alberto Callaspo snuffed that fire out in a hurry. Turns out, those two are pretty much the same player.

Ervin Santana was not particularly sharp, striking out only one while allowing 12 base runners in 6 1/3 lackluster innings, five of whom came around to score. K-Rod II then gave up a hit and three consecutive walks in relief, so I'm going to petition the Bureau of Official Baseball Nicknames to rechristen him as BB-Rod. To Francisco's credit, he charges less per base runner than Fernando Rodney. With the 6-2 defeat, the Angels now need either another loss to Texas or a Detroit win tomorrow (or both) to lock down an untouchable spot in the 2011 draft order.

Am I being unfaithful? Well, if not caring about the final few games in a lost season so that my favorite team can possibly secure the talent it needs to win next year and in years to come is being unfaithful, then I guess I'm pretty unfaithful. Just don't tell my wife.